HBC has many local mission activities. These activities allow people to reach out to others in love and minister to various needs in the community and the world. Some mission projects are sponsored by members or groups in the church and others are community projects where our members have become involved.
The Mission Bell
Many of our current ministries began with individuals or small groups who sensed that God was calling them to address a particular need. During worship, they would “sound the call” for others to join them in that ministry, whether it was a one-time event or an on-going ministry. In the sanctuary close to the piano is the “mission bell.” Now when someone wants to share their desire to address a need, the person rings the bell to sound the call to action. If you find your heart being stirred to address a concern within the church, the community or the world, you can sound the call and see who else might have that same interest. Together, you can begin to form the plans that may give rise to Heritage’s next ministry!
Below are some of the ways in which HBC members channel their passion for missions.
Through OPIN, the church family has volunteered countless hours for many worthwhile ministries such as Advocates for Bartow’s Children, Tranquility House Women’s Shelter, the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, the Salvation Army, numerous hospices, nursing homes, and other helping agencies. We also support many of these organizations regularly through our church budget.
For the past two years, we’ve partnered with four other local congregations to make OPIN an ecumenical effort. In 2013, an estimated 200 volunteers worked some 30 projects in Cartersville and Bartow County.
Habitat for Humanity
In its relatively short life, HBC has sponsored four Habitat for Humanity houses in Bartow County. There are plans to sponsor more builds in the future, as well as provide opportunities for individuals or groups in the church to contribute to buildings in the community.
Food & Clothing Ministries
The Backpack Buddies program is a community program that provides nonperishable food items every Friday to school children who might not get a meal at home during the weekend. Our church supports 10 children each week in this program. During the summer, church volunteers also deliver food to children through the Summer Lunch Program, where lunches are distributed for 8 weeks in June and July.
Community Church Shop
The Community Church Shop is non-profit ministry that is sponsored and supported by local churches including Heritage, that provides good, clean clothes at a low cost to those in need. Our Round Table women’s group staffs the Church Shop monthly in a rotation with the other churches. Our youth also staff the shop every fifth Saturday throughout the year.
Meals on Wheels
Once a month, members of our congregation deliver food to some 60 Bartow County residents through the community’s Meals on Wheels program.
Seeds of Hope Community Garden
In 2013, HBC members began “Seeds of Hope Community Garden,” which provided nearly 3000 pounds of fresh produce to local shelters, a food pantry and individuals during our first year. Plans to expand the garden and share more of God’s bounty with the community are underway for the next growing season.
Each February, we partner with First Presbyterian Church for “Souper Sunday” (which takes place on Super Bowl Sunday). Soups are donated by area restaurants or cooked by church volunteers. Our two churches take turns hosting the lunch, where the proceeds from soup sales go to local and global hunger projects, as decided by the host church for that year. This year’s proceeds went to the Backpack Buddies program.
Thanks to a dedicated HBC couple, a Reading Buddies ministry was started to provide readers to children at Emerson Elementary School, a local Title I school. Volunteers meet weekly with about 30 children for reading sessions in the school library. The church also provides a “lending library” of books the children can take home with them. The program is growing, and now provides additional reading instruction and one-on-one time for young elementary and pre-K children throughout the school year, and a Summer Reading Buddies session during summer weeks.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
In October of 2013, Heritage hosted a training event for church and community members to receive training for teaching English as a Second Language. Many of the Reading Buddies parents as well as other internationals in the community have expressed interest in adult learning opportunities. We plan to offer the first ESL classes sometime in January 2014.